A non-government information service on Turkey
Un service d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie


15th Year - N°172
 February 1991
38 rue des Eburons - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul

As the United States was attacking Iraq in the name of defending democracy
and human rights, its most loyal ally in the region continued to violate human rights


    After the opening of the second front against Iraq as the US jets were taking off from the Incirlik air base near Adana to bomb Iraqi territories, the Turkish security forces have, for their part, intensified their repressive actions against the Kurdish people and the opposition forces of Turkey raising their voice against the war.
    According to the daily Hürriyet of February 19, governors have banned 15 anti-war demonstrations, two exhibitions; police cracked down on the people attempting to hold unauthorized demonstrations. During these operations, two persons, Yadigar Coskun in Istanbul and Mecit Kaplan in Tatvan, were shot dead by police, 54 people wounded and 968 people detained. Of the latter, 76 were arrested by tribunals.
    Just on the day marking the end of armed conflict February 28, 1991, the Turkish security forces shot dead 20 Kurds and wounded about a hundred of them in the province of Sirnak at the Turkish-Iraqi border. The Kurdistan Committee in Brussels announced in a flash release that this massacre had been committed when the security forces were attempting to disperse a spontaneous demonstration in protest against the violences of the Army.
    Recalling that one of the arguments of the US offensive against Iraq was the claim that Saddam Hussein had massacred Iraqi Kurds, this very recent crime committed against Kurds by its most loyal ally in the region has already stained to a great extent the "military victory" of the Coalition.
    On the other hand, since the ban on strikes throughout the country, about half a million workers have been forced to work with the salaries far behind the subsistence level.
    The Turkish press has, in addition to the existing repressive practices, been subjected to a military censorship.
    Torture has turned again into a daily practice in interrogation centres.
    And all these violations of human rights have been carried out under the guise of taking part in the defence of international law and democracy.
    Since the Western opinion gave its whole attention to the Gulf War and was very content with Özal's pro-American stand, the flagrant violations of human rights in this NATO member country were hushed up by the media.
    Moreover, Özal's manoeuvres such as promising to loosen restrictions on Kurdish language and to lift Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code were hastily applauded at European institutions as a further step towards democratization in Turkey.
    Following Özal's promise, the Council of Ministers decided on January 26 to free Kurdish language. However, a few days later, the press reported that this freedom would only be partial, because neither Özal nor the Council of Ministers wanted to allow education to be given in the Kurdish language. Nor would books and articles be printed in Kurdish.
    Özal seemed set to loosen restrictions on the Kurdish language, because he had signed on November 21, 1990, the Paris Chart, an outcome of the Council on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE),  which gave significant weight to minority rights.
    This gesture was also due to anticipated post-Gulf war changes in the Middle East. According to press reports, the US Government promised that it would not try to establish a Kurdish state in the Middle East following the war if Turkey relieve the condition of the Kurds.
    During a talk with ANAP parliamentarians Özal reportedly said: "If we do not give freedom to the Kurdish language we will have a great deal of difficulty in international conferences that are going to take place following the Gulf War. It is better that we own up to the Kurds, than let Syria do it."
    As explained last month, Özal's longer-term ambition is to create an enlarged Kurdish region embracing both southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, to be administered under Turkish tutelage.
    Besides, even before the end of the armed conflict President Özal, in an interview to the daily Hürriyet of January 30, said he believed that Turkey would have three main advantages in the post-war Middle East:
    "Firstly, we shall be able to modernize our armed forces.
    "Secondly, the Western world realizes that Turkey is an indispensable ally. Turkey's role in the Middle East will grow and pressure on the Cyprus issue may decrease.
    "The third point is that our economic and commercial cooperation with Islamic nations will increase. It is necessary to link the economies in the region. A new economic system should be set up and a development plan for the Middle East should be implemented. There is a need to set up a fund for this purpose. The sources of such a fund exist. The Middle East countries can contribute with their oil. Other nations should also donate to this fund," he said.
    In a move to calm the Western critics of the situation of human rights in Turkey so as to assure a European support to this new role of Turkey, Özal promised, just on the day a European Parliament delegation visited him, to lift anti-democratic articles in the Turkish legislation.
    In accordance with Özal promise, the Council of Ministers decided on January 31 to lift Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code which are applied respectively to the "offences" of communist or separatist organization, communist or separatist propaganda and religious propaganda.
    However all these promises and decisions have not been put in practice until the end of February. Meanwhile, the press reports that the draft being prepared by the government maintains many restrictions on using Kurdish language particularly in education, publication or cultural activities. On the other hand, the Justice Minister is preparing a new Anti-Terror Law in a view of replacing the said articles if they will be lifted.
    The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), in a communique addressed to the 47th Session of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, met in Geneva, made the following proposals for reducing to minimum the violation of human rights in Turkey:
    - A calendar, approved by all political parties, must be prepared for changing the 1982 Constitution and elaborating a new constitution.
    - Laws and decrees promulgated or modified after the 1980 military coup must be abolished, and the Parliament must review the following law according to the principles of a democratic state:
    - The law on the tasks and powers of the police
    - The Electoral Law
    - The Political Parties Code
    - The Turkish Penal Code
    - The law on trade unions
    - The Press Code
    - The law on associations.
    As a first step of this process, which may take a long time, the following measures should immediately be taken by the government:
    - The Decree No. 430 concerning state of emergency in 13 provinces of the South-East must be abrogated,
    - Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code concerning offences of opinion must be abolished.
    - The Law No. 2932 banning Kurdish language must be lifted.
    - Capital punishment must be abolished and the files attending the National Assembly's ratification be annulled.
    - A general amnesty must be proclaimed so as to repair judicial errors committed for last ten years and to release 5,000 political prisoners.
    - Thousands of political refugees who were deprived of their nationality must be given the possibility of regaining their nationality and returning to Turkey.
    [In other columns we are reproducing a report by the Human Rights Association of Turkey on the situation of human rights in 1990, addressed to international human rights organizations.]


    Helsinki Watch issued on February 10, 1991 the following report on the on-going torture practices in Turkey:
    "Helsinki Watch is deeply concerned about the reported deaths in January 1991 of five people who had been detained by police in Turkey. We call upon the government of Turkey to investigate each of these deaths thoroughly, and, where improper use of lethal force is found, to prosecute vigorously those responsible.
    "The five men who died in suspicious circumstances were Tevfik Timur, Cumali Copur, Birtan Altunbas, Haydar Arman and Ihsan Basbugu. Three died in Ankara, one in Cizre and one in Nevsehir. Authorities alleged that two had killed themselves. 

Tevfik Timur

    "Cumhuriyet reported on January 15, 1991, that Tevfik Timur had been detained in Cizre on January 5, 1991. Police turned his body over to his family on January 14. The General Secretary of the Socialist Party, Yalçin Buyukdagli, alleged that Mr. Timur s death was caused by torture carried out by police during their interrogation.

Cumali Copur

    "Cumali Copur, a convict sentenced for theft who was an inmate in Nevsehir E-type prison, committed suicide on January 11, 1991, by hanging himself with a bedsheet, according to Ahmet Sukru Dagli, the Nevsehir public prosecutor. Cumhuriyet reported on January 13 that the case was under investigation.

Birtan Altunbas

    "Muzaffer Ilhan Erdost, the president of the Ankara branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association, reported on January 22, 1991, that a youth named Birtan Altunbas, who had been detained for 15 days at the political Section of Ankara police Headquarters, had died as a result of torture. Mr. Altunbas died at Gülhane Military Hospital on January 16, 1991, and was buried in Malkara, Tekirdag, on January 18. A student named Murat Böbrek, who had been in detention with Birtan Altunbas, said that he had seen .Altunbas being tortured.     "On January 25, Milliyet reported that Minister of Justice Oltan Sungurlu had reported that the public prosecutor had opened an investigation into the case. Günes reported on January 31 that the autopsy report on Altinbas' body had not been given to his family, although they had requested it. 

Haydar Arman

    "The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey reported on February I, 1991, that Haydar Arman had died in prison on January 24, 1991, after having been detained for some time at the Ankara Security Directorate. Arman's wife, Sukran Arman, told the Ankara branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association that her husband had died of torture. "His corpse was given to me from the morgue on January 26, and we buried him on the same day," she reported. I saw his head when he was being buried; one side was purple. There were red marks on his forehead. The men who went to get the corpse said that his testicles were all black. The flesh was ripped off on the tips of his toes and fingers." Tekiye Arman, Haydar Arman's mother, also stated that her son was healthy when he was detained. "They took my son in healthy and gave him back dead."

Ihsan Basbugu

    "According to Milliyet, Ihsan Basbugu, a youth who had been detained on January 31, 1991, charged with stealing two packs of cigarettes, died at Anafartalar Police Station where he had been detained. Authorities claimed that Basbugu had committed suicide. Basbugu's father said: I examined my son's body closely at the morgue. There were no signs of suicide ... but there were marks of beating; I saw purple bruises under his arm pits and on his feet."

 * * *
    "The deaths in detention of these five men are not isolated instances. In January, Helsinki Watch described in its annual report credible reports of seven deaths in detention under suspicious circumstances during 1990. In three of the cases, security forces alleged that the detainees had committed suicide. The seven were:
    "o Emine Yilmaz, 22, who was arrested in April on charges of using counterfeit German marks, died the evening of the day she was jailed. The Public Prosecutor opened an investigation, and the corpse was sent to the Istanbul Forensic Institute for analysis.
    "o Ali Akkan died in police custody in Antalya on May 6. He had been suspected of giving shelter to a member of an illegal organization. Authorities claimed that he committed suicide by jumping out the window of Antalya Police Headquarters. Akkan's family and the Human Rights Association have asked for an autopsy.
    "o Besir Algan, 36, a peasant who, according to Member of Parliament Fuat Atalay, had been taken into custody and then shot dead by security forces in the village of Budakli, in the province of Mardin, died on May 22.
    "o Serdar Cekic Abbasoglu, 23, a robbery suspect, was found dead in bed in Ankara Central Jail on June 4, following interrogation. The authorities claimed that there were no signs of blows on Abbasoglu's body, but 6 fellow detainees asserted that he had been bleeding from his nose and mouth, and that his bed was stained with blood on the day of his death.
    "o Ibrahim Ates, a robbery suspect, was detained on July 15. He was allegedly killed by being thrown from the fourth-floor balcony of a policy station in Mersin ten days later. Police claimed the death was a suicide.
    "o Abdurrahim Tanribilir, from the Duzova village of Cizre, was, according to his mother, beaten at home and then detained on September 7. His body was returned on September 8. The authorities said that he had committed suicide.
    "o Yakup Aktas died in detention in the Interrogation Center at Mardin Gendarmery Regiment Command, one week after his detention on November 18. Security forces alleged that he had suffered a heart attack. His family reported a head wound and bruises on body.
    I"n Turkey, torture usually takes place in the political sections of police headquarters during the initial interrogation of a suspect. Human rights activists and lawyers report, as they have for some years, that over 90 percent of political suspects are tortured, as are over 50 percent of people suspected of ordinary crimes. Torture in police stations includes suspending the victim for prolonged periods, applying electric shock, directing highly pressurized water at the victim, and falaka (beating the soles of the feet).
    "Torture is not confined to adults. Some children under 18 (including some as young as 11 or 12) have allegedly been beaten by police after having been detained for such offences as writing "No to War" on a public wall, demonstrating on May Day, fighting, and belonging to an illegal organization.
    "Nor is torture confined to police stations. In 1990, several credible reports alleged a resurgence of torture in prisons, largely in the form of mass beatings with truncheons or wooden sticks.


    "Helsinki Watch has been gravely concerned for some time about the routine use of torture during interrogations at police stations in Turkey. We have recommended in the past, and continue to recommend to the Turkish government that it:
    "o Acknowledge the pattern of torture in police detention centers and take steps to end it.
    "o Enforce a September 1989 decree that guarantied detainees the right to be represented by attorneys from the moment of detention; the provisions of this decree have never been carried out.
    "o Prohibit the use in court of confessions obtained by torture.
    "o Increase the possible sentences for the crime of torture.
    "o Prosecute torturers.
    "o Allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations to visit detainees and prisoners on a regular basis."


    The Human Rights Medical Treatment Center is stated to open in Ankara next month to begin treating some of the estimated 200,000 victims of torture in Turkey.
    The new medical treatment centre will be equipped to treat 100 torture victims and their affected relatives in the first year of operation. According to Haldun Özen, secretary general of the Human Rights Foundation Center established last year in Ankara, the new clinic represents the foundation's second project.
    Treatment centre staff will include one full-time physician, an aide and two doctors who will serve as advisers to treat and/or direct patients to appointed hospitals and clinics. The centre's staff services and treatment will be free of charge to all torture victims.
    The average expense of treating one patient was estimated by the foundation to run in the vicinity of $1,000. "A rich country could provide more in treatment and services" Özen said, "but this is as much as we can afford"
    Although the Human Rights Foundation was founded in April 1990, it only gained legal status from the Turkish government on Dec. 30, through a printed announcement in the Official Gazette.
    In its first year of operation, 40 victims of torture were treated on an outpatient basis. Most were individuals living in Ankara, although five patients from Istanbul and one from Izmir were referred to the foundation by doctors in the respective cities.
    Özen noted, however, that this had been only the first phase of the operation. Following successful initiation of the second-phase treatment centre, the foundation plans to establish a full-fledged Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims, "hopefully in 1992,' he added. Özen also noted that they would be sending three Turkish doctors to the Danish Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims for one week's training and another for training on a longer-term basis.
    The Medical Treatment Center expects to address the needs of individuals currently in prison, through supplying drugs and other medical supplies for prison inmates.
    The lion's share of the foundation's funds come through donations from similar rehabilitation centres in Europe, the United Nations Center for Human Rights in Geneva, Amnesty International and its affiliates, the German Greens and individual donations from Turkey.
    The cost of the Medical Treatment Center project is expected to total around 400 million TL. "Even a donation of 1,000 TL is welcome" Özen said. "We definitely need more funds" 


    The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) claimed on January 21 that one-fourth of all prison inmates in Turkey were ill and urged the Justice Ministry to implement measures to improve health conditions in the nation's penitentiaries.
    In a petition to the Justice Ministry—which is in charge of prison administration in Turkey—TTB also submitted a list of 237 inmates who were known to be suffering from various diseases and asked for more information about the health of other prisoners.
    Justice Minister Oltan Sungurlu said the ministry was not going to respond to TTB's request. "Doesn't TTB have confidence in the doctors running the health services in the prisons?" asked Sungurlu.


    Restrictions have been placed on the Turkish press and other media concerning Gulf War news. A communique issued by the Press and Information Department, on January 31, 1990, said restrictions on all journalists operating in Turkey were put in effect to safeguard joint military installations and operations of the multinational forces in Turkey.
    Nezih Demirkent, president of The Journalists' Association, said that the present situation with bans was in fact no different from the previous one in that the government simply did not want to see certain news published.
    "I do understand temporary restrictions imposed during emergency situations in the name of security, but all other restrictions and censorship is unacceptable since it means violation of the freedom of expression. Although the Pentagon had also restricted war news, U.S. officials are continuously briefing U.S. and other journalists on the daily happenings of war, whereas the Turkish Government preferred to keep the press and public in the dark." he added.


    The weekly 2000e Dogru, on January 31, was closed down for two months by the Ministry of Interior by virtue of the State of Emergency Decree No.430. The Serler Printing House which printed the review too was closed down for ten days.
    2000e Dogru had already been closed down for four months in past year.
    Since 1987, the 2000e Dogru have been confiscated for 26 times and 116 different press cases opened against its editors and contributors. So, the number of the death sentences sent to the National Assembly rose to 316 of which 173 belong to left-wing and 28 to right-wing prisoners. Four of the other convicts are Palestinian militants arrested in Ankara after their raid on the Embassy of Egypt and 111 condemned for ordinary crimes.
    Before being closed down for a second time, in January, two issues of the 2000e Dogru were confiscated, one by the order of a criminal court in Elazig on the charge of containing separatist propaganda and the other by the Istanbul SSC because of its articles criticizing the government's Gulf policies.


    2.1, Mustafa Ayan and Adnan Pasa were indicted by the Ankara SSC for having distributed two political reviews, Devrimci Emek and Direnis-Hedef, in Zonguldak. Accused of communist propaganda, each faces a prison term of up to 12 years.
    2.1, the Istanbul SSC decreed the confiscation of the No. 11 of the weekly Yeni Ülke and a book entitled Sivan'in Sevdasi (Sivan's Love), written by Mahmut Baksi, a Kurdish writer in exile.
    4.1, in Ankara, the screening of a documentary film on the long march of coal-miners was banned by the Governor.
    5.1, the daily Kars Mücadele announced that since the beginning of its publication in 1987, prosecutors have opened 132 legal proceedings against its editors and contributors. Only the owner of the newspaper, lawyer Göksal Tanriverdi has been indicted in 54 different cases. Because of the intensity of the legal proceedings, the newspaper has been obliged replace five times its responsible editors.
    10.1, the 2nd issued of a new magazine, Cizgi, was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for an article on the Islam and Human Rights.
    14.1, two monthly reviews, Komün and Hedef, as well as the issue No. 13 of the weekly Yeni Ülke were confiscated by the order of the Istanbul SSC. The editors of the reviews are accused of communist and separatist propaganda.
    15.1, the Governor of Usak banned to put on walls an anti-war poster produced by the main opposition SHP. The poster contains the slogan "No to War, Long Live Peace!"
    17.1, the Chairman of the Socialist Party (SP), Ferit Ilsever was brought before the criminal court of first instance No.2 in Istanbul for having insulting the President of the Republic. He faces a prison term of four years. As for the editor of the weekly 2000e Dogru, Adnan Akfirat, who published Ilsever's declaration, he faces an imprisonment of up to 8 years.
    19.1, the issue No.14 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for its anti-war articles.
    21.1, a journalist from the Islamist review Akdogus, Kerim Bozdag was sentenced by the Konya SSC to one-year imprisonment for having suspended a banned without an authorization.
    23.1, two journalists from the daily Cumhuriyet were brought in Istanbul for having insulted the President of the Republic. Ilhan Selcuk faces a prison term of up to 9 years and Oktay Akbal 4 years and 6 months.
    24.1, all members of the musical group Ekin were taken into custody.
    24.1, the Penal Court of First Instance No.2 in Istanbul decreed that the August 1987 issue of Playboy's Turkish edition and the January 1990 issue of Playman be destroyed by burning. These issued had already been confiscated for obscenity.  
    24.1, the representation of Pir Sultan Abdal by the Birlik Theatre in Izmir was banned by the governor.
    28.1, the 18-month-old Konstantiniyye Haberleri (News of Konstantiniyye) newspaper was closed down by the Istanbul Governor, on grounds that its name was reminiscent of Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire's former Greek name for Istanbul. Owner Cüneyt Ayral said: "Since the day our newspaper began publication, we have received reactions from different sources. No Company is willing to advertise in our paper. Even men on the street asks us whether we are praising the Rum [Greek] people. we shall not give up. We shall go to court."
    29.1, the responsible editor of the daily Cumhuriyet, Okay Gönensin was indicted for a news concerning Nermin Alkan, a 16-year old high school student arrested for putting anti-war posters on the walls of her school. Gönensin faces a prison term of three months.
    30.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscated a book on workers' movement published by Devrimci Proletarya Publishing House as well as the issue No. 27 of the monthly Özgürlük Dünyasi.
    31.1, the monthly Deng was confiscated by the order of a penal court in Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
    31.1, the representation of Pir Sultan Abdal by the Birlik Theatre in Edirne and Kirklareli were banned by the decisions of the governors.


    2.1, in Erzincan, two members of the SHP were detained for having distributed some tracts of solidarity with the striking coal-miners.
    2.1, the police in Ankara announced the arrest of 22 people allegedly belonging to an underground left-wing organization.
    3.1, in Ankara, 54 people, parents of political prisoners, were detained for having carried out a demonstration in front of the prison during the New Year visit. In Ceyhan, seven parents of political prisoners were arrested for having protested against the restrictions on New Year visits.
    4.1, two lawyers, Hüsnü Öndül and Esin Fatma Kulac, were detained in Ankara for having issued a communique protesting against the arrest of striking coal-miners. Police also raided their offices and homes and confiscated some documents. Öndül is a leading member of the Human Rights Association (IHD), the Foundation for Human Rights (TIHV) and the Association of Contemporary Lawyers (CHD). Under arrest two lawyers went on a hunger-strike.
    6.1, a death sentence against Mahir Günes was approved by the Military Court of Appeals and sent to the National Assembly for ratification.
    6.1, in Ankara, a meeting about the war's harmful effects on health, organized by the Doctors' Chamber of Ankara was banned by the Governor.
    6.1, in Bursa, seven student of the Uludag University were arrested for having led an action in solidarity with the striking coal-miners.
    8.1, in addition to the two lawyers already under arrest, two other lawyers, Ali Yildirim and Aydin Erdogan, were detained by police in Ankara for having supported the coal-miners' long march.
    9.1, in Kütahya, five students were detained during a police raid on the People's House on charges of reading some left-wing magazines. Four of the detainees were later released by a court.
    9.1, the Istanbul SSC arrested nine university students for having led demonstrations in favour of the striking coal-miners.
    10.1, in Ankara, four students of the Hacettepe University were detained by police for an action in favour of the striking coal-miners.
    11.1, five people were detained in Ankara for selling a calendar of which some writings were considered insulting the President of the Republic.
    15.1, in Istanbul, 70 people were detained during a raking operation carried out by the police in the slum areas of Kücükcekmece and Avcilar.
    16.1, the trial of the 17 alleged members of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) began at the Istanbul SSC. A female defendant, Hüsniye Tasli said that she and many of her comrades had been subjected to torture during their police interrogation.
    19.1, police announced the arrest 16 alleged members of the Marxist-Leninist Armed Propaganda Unit (MLSPB) in Gebze.
    21.1, in Kars, five people distributing the SHP's anti-war posters were detained by police.
    21.1, the main opposition SHP's local chairman in Sanliurfa, Turan Saritemur was brought before tribunal for giving his son a Kurdish name, Velat. The prosecutor, claiming that the Population Law bans all names incompatible with Turkish common usage, asked the tribunal to change the newborn's Kurdish name.
    22.1, a 12 year-old student of primary school was detained along with four people in Istanbul for having put anti-war posters on walls.
    22.1, Prof. Dr. Leziz Onaran, President of the Doctors Against Nuclear War (NÜSHED), was detained in Ankara for having organized earlier an anti-war demonstration.
    22.1, the Association of Contemporary Lawyers (CHD) was definitely closed by the Governor of Ankara on grounds that its some members were taking part in political activities. Four members of the association had been detained at the beginning of January for having issued a communique in solidarity with the striking coal-miners.
    23.1, in Istanbul, three members of the Socialist Party (SP), were detained for having sent President Özal a U.S. flag in protest against his pro-American attitude. Same day, eleven leading members of the People's Labour Party (HEP) were detained In the district of Karakocan of the province of Elazig.
    24.1, an attempt of anti-war demonstration in Istanbul was prevented by police using force. Three demonstrators were wounded by police fire.
    25.1, in Ankara, police launched an extensive operation against the members of two associations, the Association for Solidarity with the Prisoner's Families (TAYAD) and the Association of Women in Democratic Struggle (DEMKAD), which had been closed down in December 1990. Among the detained people are also the local presidents of the two associations. Police also raided the Ankara office of the monthly review Mücadele.
    25.1, the Ankara Chairman of the Socialist Party (SP), Ilknur Kalan was detained by police on the charge of insulting the President of the Republic.
    25.1, the security forces arrested more than 100 Kurdish people in Nusaybin during a raking operation.
    27.1, a demonstration by the IHD members in Istanbul was prevented by police using force and IHD Istanbul Chairman Lawyer Ercan Kanar was taken into custody along with 10 other IHD members. In Ankara, a meeting claiming an end to the war, organized by the Political Sciences Faculty graduates' association was banned by the Governor. So, the political leaders invited to the meeting were prevented from expressing their views on the Gulf War.
    28.1, an anti-war demonstration by a hundred of people in Ankara was prevented by police using force. 11 demonstrators four journalists were taken into custody.
    30.1, the Cankaya People's House in Ankara was raided by police and six people taken into custody.
    30.1, the Military Court of Appeals approved a two years and 20 days imprisonment against Osman Yagiz, mayor of the Kozluca township in Burdur. He had been sentenced by the Izmir SSC for religious propaganda.
    30.1, the Military Court of Appeals approved death sentences against two PKK members, Enver Simseksoy and Mehmet Sait Üclü, as well as imprisonments of 48 other defendants.
    31.1, police again carried out a raking operation in the slums of Kücükarmutlu in Istanbul on the pretext of capturing some wanted people. The windows and doors of many houses were destroyed during the operation and about 300 people taken into custody.


    The Political Committee of the European Parliament, on February 6, 1990, discussed Turco-European relations in the light of a report by Mr. Alman Metten. Dutch socialist member of Parliament made a report not only on the results of the recent meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee in Ankara of which he was the co-chairman, but also on his talk with President Özal.
    - The European delegation explained to its Turkish counterpart that the situation of human rights in Turkey is a determining factor as well for freeing the 4th Financial Protocol as for a possible Turkish adhesion to the European Communities. The Turkish Government seems not having sufficiently understood that it needs not only the approval of the Council but also 260 votes at the European Parliament. This message was well understood by Turkish deputies.
    - M. Metten has the impression that the pressure exerted by the European Parliament have produced effect. The Turkish Parliament has recently set up a Human Rights Committee, which is a considerable step. The Communist Party now seems to be tolerated (cf. its congress in January) though it officially remains banned.
    - President Özal, during his talk with Mr. Metten was committed to suppress Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code which concern the offences of opinion. This commitment was announced same day to the press in Ankara.
    - A first step has been taken last week as regards Kurds: Using Kurdish language was no more a crime. No doubt there is still a long way to make as regards cultural and political autonomy.
    - The most drastic aspects of the special laws applied in the East have been suppressed.
    - Negative aspects: Non-recognition of the press and trade union freedoms, even if more tolerance is observed concerning trade unions.
    - Mr. Metten suppose that Turkey does not have the intention to demand territorial or military compensations, but she can demand economic compensations. If the European Communities do not make any thing in this sense, the United States may give her some compensations of military character.
    - The Turkish President has the feeling that the European Communities follow a policy of double weight and double measure as regards Turkey; hence, in the frame of special aid to the countries worst hit by the Gulf Crisis, as Jordan and Egypt will be receiving aids, Turkey will be given only loans.
    - As for Cyprus President Özal said that Turkey wishes a decision within the frame of the United States, without any intervention by the European Communities.
    - Mr. Özal warned the EC member countries: As Saddam Hussein is attempting to present the war as a war between Christians and Moslems, they should be careful not subject their Moslim citizens to a particular treatment, because it will serve to Saddam Hussein's game.
    - Turkey is conscious of the problem of human rights. Regardless of the pressure exerted in this field on her, Turkey wishes to reach the level of the European Communities in this field. On the other hand, the EC have to understand that legislative changes are not enough; it should be accompanied by the changes in mentalities: Precisely, the EEC/Turkey Association Agreement may contribute to such a change.
    The Political Commission will discuss again the Turco-European relations in coming days, on the occasion of the presentation of two reports: A report by Mrs. Raymonde Dury, Belgian socialist, on the general problem of relations with Turkey in the light of the demand of adhesion, and another report by Mr. William Newton Dunn,  British conservative, on the EEC/Turkey 4th Financial Protocol.


    One can possibly summarize the developments in the field of human rights in Turkey, by considering both positive and negative sides, in the following manner:

Death Penalties

    With the modifications made in the Turkish Penal Code, death penalties resulting from 13 crimes have been abolished. According to a statement by the Ministry of Justice, 62 persons who have definitely been condemned to death penalty are about to benefit from this modification. However the files belonging to these persons are still awaiting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly Justice Commission for consideration.
    The total number of the files of the people definitely condemned to capital punishment, as to the end of 1990, was 315.
    The upward trend in armed and bombed attacks have led top-level State authorities, especially the President of the Republic, to maintain that the death penalties can be executed when and if needed. Therefore these convicts have been continued to be treated like hostages by the State authorities.
    Although the death penalties accruing to 13 crimes have been abolished, the punishment for about 40 other crimes remains to be death penalty. Thus. while Turkey is the only country that has not ratified the Protocol No.6 among the members of the Council of Europe, it is also one of the 7 countries within the CSCE that execute death penalties.


    Torture allegations continued also in 1990. Ill treatment at the security offices and at interrogation was more common, it was like a general rule. A survey carried out in Izmir revealed that 45% of 200 ordinary crime convicts had been subjected to torture. Another point that provided possibilities for torture is the fact that the suspects cannot meet their lawyers after the moment they are taken in detention.
    It was alleged that the circulars issued by Premier's Office and the Ministry of Justice were designed to provide possibilities for such meetings. However, those circulars based this right on certain conditions. First of all, the suspect has to request such a meeting, then the police should communicate this request to the prosecution, and finally the prosecutor might accept or turn down such a demand. Since such implementation prepares the grounds for arbitrary behaviour, suspect-lawyer meeting is still not based on secure grounds. Therefore one of the circumstances making torture possible remains unchanged.
    On the other hand, the fact that the chief-prosecutor of the State Security Court of Ankara, Nusret Demiral refused to receive some Council of Europe  envoys, prevented the prospects of international inspection.
    Another implementation that made torture possible was that, the police could take suspects or convicts from the prisons in order to have their interrogatory or testimonies. While the Constitutional Court annulled the related provision of the Law on the Tasks and the Authorities of the Police, a similar provision was introduced by the Emergency State Decree No: 430, dated December 12th, 199O.

Security Investigation

    While the Regulation on Security Investigation was earlier cancelled by the State Council for not being promulgated in the Official Journal (O.J.), it was reintroduced (OJ. April 13th, 199O). The new regulation makes exclusively every public personnel subject to an inspection under the title of "Archive Investigation" or "Security Investigation." Such inspections are based on information gathered from "intelligence units". Thus the former system was implemented again and extended.

Personal Freedoms

    The habit of security authorities to easily detain any person continued by growing stronger in 199O. Civil servants who asked for food aid from FAO, people who staged protest demonstrations, women who held demonstrations with their pressure-cookers, audiences in court-rooms, people who said "No'" to war were easily and arbitrarily detained. The concerns on the righteousness of the arrests could not be appeased. A sixteen year old high school student who had sticked a poster saying "No to war", was released only after she stayed under arrest during two months. As this incident displays once more, the fact that there are no limitations on the period of arrest in Turkish Law and that the judges can easily order arrests, continued to constitute a threat on personal freedoms.

Freedom of Religion and Conscience

    The Directorate of Religious Affairs, sending a circular (65.2/962/172) to the Governorships, demanded confidential reports including the list of the people who have been converted from Islam during last ten years  (Milliyet, 26.10.1990). This circular seems having the aim of recording all these people constitutes a new menace to the freedom of religion and conscience.
    On the other hand, the Law No. 3670 of October 25th, 1990, introduced the freedom of clothing in the institutions of higher education.
    Earlier, the Constitutional Court had annulled an article stipulating that women can cover their heads in accordance with their religious beliefs. The supreme court argued that it was contradicting many provisions of the Constitution, especially the one related to the principle of secularism. The adoption of the new law seems as a political act in defiance of a constitutional principle.

Freedom of Thought and Expression

    The debate over Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) was again on the agenda in 1990. Government circles maintained that they waited for the opposition parties to determine their attitude on the subject. However Social Democrat Populist Party's (SHP) attitude on the abolition of these articles was already clear.
    The government also claimed that the abolition of the mentioned articles would cause problems as regards the Constitution.
    The project which was reportedly prepared by the government on this issue was taken out from the agenda towards the end of the year. 
    Besides, no decrease or flexibility in the implementation of these articles was observed. According to a statement by the Minister of Justice on November 14th 199O, the number of persons which are being prosecuted on TCK 142 and 163 are 1269. The total number of persons tried within the period between 1981-1990 by virtue of these articles is reported to be 10,949.
    In 1990, a serious increase was observed in the number of trials launched for "insulting the President of the Republic". Taken into account that a criticism can easily be treated as a "political offence" the fact that the number of trials launched on this charge reached 42 within one year constitutes a considerable disrespect for the freedom of expression and criticism.
    Meanwhile there were also some journalists who were condemned for contravening the Law Relating to the Crimes Against the Memory of Atatürk.
    Finally, many trials were launched and many people were arrested in line with TCK 142/3 for speaking in "a language that the law forbids and for translating that language."

Freedom of Press

    The anti-democratic provisions of the Constitution and of the Press Law, and the implementations based on those provisions continued to influence the press in 1990. Certain issues  of some daily newspapers were confiscated (Bugün, Günes, Günaydin, Sabah, etc). A notification was issued to Sabah that its publication can be prohibited.
    On the other hand, left-wing magazines were always subject to confiscation with a court order.
    28 journalists were in the prison in 1990.
    Freedom of press also faced some internal problems resulting from monopolization and self- censorship. For example, the owner of the daily Günes, issuing a written order, asked the leading the writers of the newspaper to follow a certain line on the Cyprus Question.
    The assaults on the press and the journalists finally gained greater dimensions. Two journalists (Turan Dursun and Cetin Emec) lost their lives in armed attacks.

Freedom of Arts

    While many concerts were banned by the governorships for "threatening to disturb the public order",  products of theatre and cinema also faced the same problems.
    The play Pir Sultan Abdal, which has been on and off the stage in Ankara since 1967, was banned by the governorship at the 13th performance of Ankara Birlik Tiyatrosu in Istanbul. The spectacle could be carried on thanks to a court order issued on the theatre company's request.
    A meaningful event within the field of cinema was the interdiction of screening a film titled The Naked Gun on grounds that it contained elements humiliating Iran's spiritual leader Khomeini. The Iranian authorities had also taken initiatives to prevent the screening of the film.

Freedom To establish Associations and Foundations

    The Ankara Governorship came up with a circular maintaining that the civil servants are prohibited from being members of any association (April 2nd, 1990, TIHV Bulletin), although the Law of Associations does not include such a general provision, on the contrary it recognizes to the civil servants the right of membership with certain exceptions.
    The provisions banning political declarations by associations carried out their effects in 1990 as well. The Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen (TUSIAD), which had a political stance similar to that of the government received reactions when it deliberately started to criticize the government's policies, and the chairman of the Association was interrogated by the Prosecutor.
    As for the foundations, one can be reminded of the long and tedious judicial process that the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) had to pass through for the registration procedure.

Freedom of Meetings and Demonstrations

    The limitations on the freedoms of meeting and demonstration marches, which is one of the most effective forms of collective freedoms, occupied an important place in the violations of the human rights in 1990.
    The ban on May Day demonstrations for reasons of public security or public order and the cracking down on demonstrators revealed that the atmosphere of insecurity actually resulted from the pressures exerted by the political rule. The balance sheet of 1990 May Day:  40 injuries, one heavily, and 3304 detentions only in Istanbul. About 100 arrests by court all over Turkey, and 33 convictions so far.
    Furthermore, the governorships banned all anti-war rallies, a number of meetings and marches for the unionization of civil servants, many meetings for human rights, a panel titled The Place and Problems of the Woman (in Ankara), meetings of the opposition parties (those of SHP and SP in Istanbul).
    The restrictions put by the Ankara Governorship on the functions of the municipalities whose mayors belong to the opposition parties withdrew a particular attention. Within the framework of such limitations, the governorship did not give permission to a chess tournament, a volleyball game, a bicycle race, a nursery contest and a teachers' evening.     With the circular No. 5032 of the Ministry of Interior, the powers of the district governors to issue permission for meetings were handed over to the provincial governors. This means that only the governors and the security authorities will have the final word on such matters instead of the district governors who seemingly do not pay enough attention to the meetings and demonstration marches.

Freedoms of trade union

    The most important step in this respect was that some public servants started to use their union rights in 199O. Some groups claimed that neither the Constitution nor the related laws contain clauses prohibiting the unionization of civil servants, and that some international treaties to which Turkey is a party, recognized the right of unionization for public officers. So, some new trade unions such as Egitim-Is (education), Kam-Sen (public works) and Bel-Sen (municipalities) became corporate bodies. The Labour Court No. 2 of Ankara decided to halt a trial against  the founders of Egitim-Is.
    The rising trend in the strikes emerged as an important event towards the end of 1990. Trade unions already announced that workers would walk out their jobs on January 3rd, 1991.

State of Emergency Regime

    State of Emergency Decrees, coming one after another continued to bring limitations over freedoms especially in South-East Anatolia. These decrees in force of law (KHK) expanded the limitations especially for the press even out of this region.
    The Constitutional Court acted with the power to investigate these decrees. When the Superior Court showed the symptoms of a tendency to cancel some provisions of these decrees, the Government mowed on the issue KHK No 430, which abolished the KHK No 424 and modified KHK No 425. Hence, the constitutional control was tried to be made ineffective.

    The fact that President of the Appeal Court required a pre-inspection of the speech to be made traditionally by the President of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) at the opening of the judicial year was evaluated as an act of "censorship". As the outcome of this incident, TBB did not participate in the ceremonies.
    The incident added to the concerns felt about the independence of the judiciary because it was well known that the speeches by the TBB presidents were mainly critical and it was clear that this year's address would be no exception.
    Other two events that increased the concerns were the appointments made by the President of the Republic to the vacant chairs at the Constitutional Court. The Premier Minister's wife was appointed as substitute member.
    The choice made by the President amongst the three candidates for a vacant chair at the Audit Court has shown that this superior court was being placed under the control of the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP). The controversy grew when it was alleged that this new member of the court had some ties with a religious brotherhood.